Many, Many Years Ago … On a Christian School Campus Far, Far Way … a young man came to continue his education. His face was somewhat deformed, due to a Cleft Pallet. His grades were “in the tank,” making it obvious that the only thing he was passing was his locker! He came as a sophomore, and when he graduated two years later he was a solid B student and an integral part of the student body.
One day towards the end of his Senior Year he and I were smashing out a visit and I asked him what had made such a spectacular transformation in his life. His reply really intrigued me.
“Mr. Allen,” he began, “at my other school I was constantly the victim of ridicule and even physical attack. I had to sit with my back to the wall to ensure that I was safe. The whole time I was there I had to be on guard. My entire day I was filled with Anger, and I couldn’t concentrate on anything else.
“When I came here,” he continued, “I was accepted by everyone – – students and teachers alike. For the first time I had school friends, was a part of the activities, and my Anger was gone. At that point,” he said with a smile, “I could concentrate on my school work. I was never dumb,” he assured me, “and once I got here I could prove it.”
It made me cry. Both when he told me, and just now when I wrote about it! It got me to thinking about other people I knew whose lives were filled with Anger and how it affected their daily routine. As I was in the middle of this cogitation I had somewhat of an epiphany: Many of them weren’t really Angry at all! Let me share that realization with you!
The two things that Anger typically “cover up” are Fear and Emotional Hurt. Many times when someone lashes out in Anger what they really want to do is cry because their feelings have been hurt. The thing is, most of us believe that showing our true state of being, suffering from Emotional Pain, is a sign of weakness. At the same time, we believe if we lash out in Anger it puts us in a position of Power or Strength.
When we deal with others we need to keep in mind that while they may be displaying Anger, the reality is that they may either be afraid or have had their feelings hurt. As hard as it is for most of us to fathom, there are some poor souls out there who have suffered the pain of Emotional Distress for the most of their lives. As a result, they react as though they are Angry with the whole world, for they feel as though world is determined to continue their pain.
The GOOD NEWS is that we can help quell their Anger by helping to ease their pain! Love is the perfect antidote for Anger’s poison, and the perfect balm for Emotional Pain. If you know someone who is bound by the chains of Anger, take time to listen to them, to learn the source of their Pain, and, most importantly, take time to Love Them!